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Remembered Today:

UNKNOWN R.S.M. - The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment)


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Stuck on this one from the start, as the CWGC does not show any Regimental Serjeant Majors missing from "The Queen's" at any time during the war.

 

The best I could find was the missing Company Serjeant Majors, perhaps one was promoted but not so recorded? I have included the complete list here, not just the memorials, as this also shows a flaw in the new CWGC web site. It dies not show (cemetery panel on left side) that 1 of the 17 men is in the St. Aubert British Cemetery and 1 of the 17 men is on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial (see CWGC page here: http://tinyurl.com/y8mrrhdt).

 

By the time they got to the HEADSTONE, it was changed to a Serjeant Major and no unit affiliation, so maybe they had already figured out there were not any RSM of "The Queen's" missing? Both the COG-BR and GRRF are clear about the rank and unit.

 

Here are the records for the Gouzeaucourt New British Cemetery showing the RSM in Plot 5 Row A Grave 17:

 

doc2004897.JPG

 

doc2662726.JPG

 

doc2761904.JPG

 

Forgot the list:

 

surname initials honours death unit # cemeterymemorial grave
MANNING H   26-03-18 10th Bn. 'G/9642' ARRAS MEMORIAL Bay 2.
ANNISS W   26-07-15 6th Bn. '1207' BAILLEUL COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION, NORD I. C. 91.
LARKIN J   11-01-16 1st Bn. '6727' CAMBRIN MILITARY CEMETERY F. 41.
BURFIELD J H   16-05-15 2nd Bn. 'L/5624' CANADIAN CEMETERY NO.2, NEUVILLE-ST. VAAST 16. F. 18.
DOWMAN J W   01-07-16 7th Bn. 'G/4732' DANTZIG ALLEY BRITISH CEMETERY, MAMETZ III. Q. 4.
CHILD A C   09-10-16 10th Bn '10441' HEILLY STATION CEMETERY, MERICOURT-L'ABBE III. F. 72.
PUDDICOMBE W   16-05-15 2nd Bn. 'L/6828' LE TOURET MEMORIAL Panel 4 and 5.
SILLENCE H C   16-05-15 2nd Bn. 'L/5092' LE TOURET MEMORIAL Panel 4 and 5.
BISCOE T   14-03-17 2nd Bn. '10511' QUEENS CEMETERY, BUCQUOY II. A. 9.
MILBURN J   01-12-17 6th Bn. '6361' ROCQUIGNY-EQUANCOURT ROAD BRITISH CEMETERY, MANANCOURT V. B. 23.
JONES C W   11-10-18 8th Bn. '200034' ST. AUBERT BRITISH CEMETERY III. A. 8.
PINNOCK H   09-10-16 10th Bn. 'G/9603' THIEPVAL MEMORIAL Pier and Face 5 D and 6 D.
CROWHURST J M M 21-08-16 8th Bn. 'S/6618' THIEPVAL MEMORIAL Pier and Face 5 D and 6 D.
GREENFIELD A F   13-07-16 7th Bn. 'G/2192' THIEPVAL MEMORIAL Pier and Face 5 D and 6 D.
JENKINS E H   13-07-16 7th Bn. 'G/1470' THIEPVAL MEMORIAL Pier and Face 5 D and 6 D.
SPARKS E   14-07-16 2nd Bn. 'L/8096' THIEPVAL MEMORIAL Pier and Face 5 D and 6 D.
REYNOLDS B D C M 08-08-18 7th Bn. 'G/69228' VIS-EN-ARTOIS MEMORIAL Panel 3.
Edited by laughton
removed Captain from title - that was reported 2015
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thetrenchrat22

In the same cemetery in Plot 7, Row E, Grave 20 is an unknown captain of the 6/2  R W Surrey.  

 

There are 6 members of the 6th Bn Royal West Surrey Regiment buired in the same cemetery, with 3 of them buried in the same row.  

 

Looking at the dates of death, battalion.  Only 5 Captain's of the 6th Battalion Royal West Surrey Regiment were killed in France.  

 

Only 1 has an Unknown Grave.  Captain Eric Wilson Edwards who was killed on the 30th November 1917, his date of death matches the date of death of the 4 of the 6 of the 6th Royal West Surrey's

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Quote

 

Had not got that far in the sheets yet, but that appears "spot on" and it should be reported - have you done that already?

 

https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1752704/edwards,-eric-wilson/

 

Plot 7 Row E Grave 19 at 57c.W.18.c.3.4, so 500 yards or less southwest  of Chapel Hill:

 

doc2004910.JPG

 

surname initials death  unit country cemeterymemorial gravereference
CHAPMAN T V 12-05-17 2nd Bn. France ARRAS MEMORIAL Bay 2.
RYAN A E 23-03-18 11th Bn. France ARRAS MEMORIAL Bay 2.
HART J W 24-03-18 10th Bn. France ARRAS MEMORIAL Bay 2.
ROBSON A F 24-03-18 10th Bn. France ARRAS MEMORIAL Bay 2.
TRENCH P R O 25-01-17 1st Bn. Iraq BASRA MEMORIAL Panel 15.
EDWARDS E W 30-11-17 6th Bn. France CAMBRAI MEMORIAL, LOUVERVAL Panel 3.
KOEBEL C E 24-08-15   Turkey HELLES MEMORIAL Panel 30 and 31.
SPICER R W 26-03-17 2nd/4th Bn. Israel and Palestine JERUSALEM MEMORIAL Panel 11.
HADDON-SMITH W B 16-05-15 2nd Bn. France LE TOURET MEMORIAL Panel 4 and 5.
SMART H S 16-05-15 2nd Bn. France LE TOURET MEMORIAL Panel 4 and 5.
COOKE C A 25-09-15 8th Bn. France LOOS MEMORIAL Panel 13 to 15.
HEATH R L G 25-09-15 2nd Bn. France LOOS MEMORIAL Panel 13 to 15.
MACKENZIE B M S 28-03-18 8th Bn. France POZIERES MEMORIAL Panel 14 and 15.
SLATTER R P 15-07-16 1st Bn. France THIEPVAL MEMORIAL Pier and Face 5 D and 6 D.
LANE-NICHOLS D W 20-08-16 8th Bn. France THIEPVAL MEMORIAL Pier and Face 5 D and 6 D.
WOOLLATT C H 21-08-16 8th Bn. France THIEPVAL MEMORIAL Pier and Face 5 D and 6 D.
GRIFFIN C J 01-09-16 2nd Bn. France THIEPVAL MEMORIAL Pier and Face 5 D and 6 D.
BESSELL M 15-09-16 10th Bn. France THIEPVAL MEMORIAL Pier and Face 5 D and 6 D.
MARTIN H L 28-09-16 7th Bn. France THIEPVAL MEMORIAL Pier and Face 5 D and 6 D.
LEADER B E 12-10-16 3rd Bn. France THIEPVAL MEMORIAL Pier and Face 5 D and 6 D.
ELTHAM C W 03-11-16 1st Bn. France THIEPVAL MEMORIAL Pier and Face 5 D and 6 D.
CROOK L A 25-09-17 Act. Adjt. 1st Bn. Belgium TYNE COT MEMORIAL Panel 14 to 17 and 162 to 162A.
THORNYCROFT J R M 21-10-14 3rd Bn. attd. 1st Bn. Belgium YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL Panel 11 - 13 and 14.
STANLEY-CREEK R F 29-10-14 1st Bn. Belgium YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL Panel 11 - 13 and 14.
APTED E 01-08-17 9th Bn. attd. 11th Bn. Belgium

YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL

Panel 11 - 13 and 14

 

doc2761927.JPG

 

Edited by laughton
noted that the Captain had been reported
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thetrenchrat22

Richard

 

No, just curious about the RSM and when I had a look at the cemetery to see if other QRWS buried in same cemetery. 

 

It just popped out. 

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I decided to look at the Regimental History, and as there can be only one RSM at a time in the Regiment, I find it interesting that only two appear;

 

Smith W. (No. Unknown)

I can't find a lot about this man. He is mentioned in the History on page 85, within the list of officers of the 2nd Battalion landing at Zeebrugge in October 1914, and no further mention is made of him. There is a Staff Regimental Sergeant Major W. Smith shown in the British Army Lists 1917 (p. 408), this is unlikely to be he as it is within the Australian Forces. I cannot find an MIC or mention of him within the Medal Rolls, but I intend to start scrolling. I shall also scroll through the Diaries of the 2nd Battalion from 1914 to July 1915 when the 7th (Service) Battalion landed.

 

Smith C. E. [Charles Edward] (S/598)

There is a little more about this chap. He is mentioned on page 211 serving with the 7th (Service) Battalion, he survived the war and was transferred to Class Z. on 20.6.19.

 

Not sure if this helps, but I shall return with updates, after looking at documents.

 

Just a quick note about CSM H. Sillence on page 85 of the Regimental History he is shown as being the Company Quartermaster-Sergeant of A Company, when the 2nd Battalion landed at Zeebrugge.

 

Mark

Edited by BFBSM
Information regarding Sillence added.
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My apologies for the incomplete post.

A report regarding the grave of Captain Edwards was submitted to the CWGC in October 2015 and passed onto the MoD in May 2016

 

Mick

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Thanks for letting us know! I will check with David Avery as to the status. I had asked David if we could get a list of ALL THE CASE NUMBERS and TITLES so we did not repeat the work that others have done. We have not received that yet, but this may help push that forward. We have offered to share all the cases we have submitted - in fact they are all readily available on the web. The main page on my site that takes you to the two lists is here:

 

http://laughton.ca/publications/unknown-project/

 

The CWGC has also submitted cases back to us for review that were completed by others. I welcome anyone to review and comment on our reports. I must update that page and add the CAMBRAI MEMORIAL to the list. I am sure there are others I have yet to discover, as we don't have a long list like the other commonwealth countries.

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11 hours ago, BFBSM said:

as there can be only one RSM at a time in the Regiment

Not correct. There was one in each battalion. There may also be other WOs Class I in extra-regimental employment, such as a senior clerk at a divisional HQ.

 

Ron

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Ron, forgive my ignorance: would such extra-regimental WOIs be referred to as RSMs in e.g. burial records? Obviously it would simplify things a bit if not.

 

Cheers, Pat.

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17 minutes ago, micks said:

Laughton

 

When you have confirmed the status with David please report back.

 

Mick

 

Will do! The email has been sent.

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32 minutes ago, Pat Atkins said:

Ron, forgive my ignorance: would such extra-regimental WOIs be referred to as RSMs in e.g. burial records? Obviously it would simplify things a bit if not.

 

Cheers, Pat.

Probably not, but if he was an "unknown" he was probably partly identified by his WO I badges, and it would be impossible to tell whether he was with a battalion or not. That said, a WO I serving at (say) a Div HQ would be less likely to become a casualty.

 

Ron

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Aha - of course, who would know what his role was if he was unknown? Doh.

 

Pat

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7 hours ago, Ron Clifton said:

Not correct. There was one in each battalion. There may also be other WOs Class I in extra-regimental employment, such as a senior clerk at a divisional HQ.

 

Ron

Apologies, my source was obviously incorrect.

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If not an RSM, what ID might make the GRU believe he was an RSM?

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Laughton

 

In many situations identification was made by fragments of clothing and pieces of badges of rank. There are cases recorded in the grave registration reports of corrections being made to a individuals rank after additional identifying evidence was obtained. It is possible that in this case a piece of a WO2 insignia was mistaken for that of a WO1. Some men did this work for the additional wages and really didn't care a damn for what was recorded. For these reasons I am very particular in the cases which I will submit to the CWGC.

 

Mick       

 

 

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WO [Sergeant major] W Smith Army List Aug 1914 seniority 19 April 1910 2Bn RWSurrey .............. WO II did not exist before May 1915.

 

I am wondering which part of CSM [WO II] badge could be mistaken for part of WO I badge ...... by a presumably reasonably experienced team? The only commonality is the crown, and these were vastly different sizes.

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Muerrisch

 

Your statement that this team was experienced is pure supposition. The fact that no WO1 from this regiment is missing from this sector of the front reinforces the fact that an error/inexperience or lack of care occurred.

 

 

An example of a nondescript warrant officer rank

 

New Irish Farm Cemetery

Grave II.H.7

Sergeant Major, Gordon Highlanders, Two Crowns

 

As you said no one should be able to mistake a WO1 for a WO2.

 

 

 

Mick

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On 12/10/2017 at 17:17, micks said:

Your statement that this team was experienced is pure supposition. The fact that no WO1 from this regiment is missing from this sector of the front reinforces the fact that an error/inexperience or lack of care occurred.

 

Absolutely - in the Kipling grave thread an excellent article I quoted from in post 555 gives the following description of post-war work in this respect:

 

 

 

"The IWGC had a poor view of the efficiency of the way the work was being carried out: 'Exhumation Companies, obsessed with the idea that their reputation depended on their concentrating the highest possible number of bodies in the shortest possible time have often paid little or no heed to the essential matter of identification."62 (Indeed, identification errors by the British at Hooge Crater led to an inquiry where the Australian Major A. Allen accused some British units of "chopping men in halves in order to double their body returns.')63 ".

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Well, a small speculation to be shot down.

 

     I note that the later GRU listing dispenses with both RSM and RWS.   So a second look at the evidence from the time by CWGC  must have caused it to discount both the rank and the regiment.

 

       BUT,  can we eliminate the following man:

 

   RSM Harold Keetley, The Yorkshire  Regiment,  died 14th May 1917.   On the Arras Memorial.

 

          I put this up for 2 reasons- a)  He was an RSM and "missing"    2)  The strong similarity between the badges of the RWS and The Yorkshire Regiment- both striding horses.

 

Alas, no other Yorkshire Regiment casualties of that time frame to support it.

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Richard 

 

any news on the list from David Avery at CWGC 

 

alan

 

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1 hour ago, micks said:

Alan

 

Do we need to create additional work for David? An email to the CWGC always generates a quick response.

 

Mick

Mick

 

that is upto David to decide if it's going to be additional work for him or  by law he can't release the info to a third party.  

 

He he could pass the work onto an ACO to complete and send to Richard. 

 

 

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Alan

 

Yes, the CWGC will ultimately make their decision based upon their protocol. However I will not have my name attached to a submission which I disagree with.

ie post # 8

 

Mick

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